Hyundai Transys has started using autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) provided by Thira Robotics for in-plant logistics at its US plant in Alabama. It is the first time Thira Robotics, which is based in South Korea, has deployed its AMRs in the US.
Hyundai Transys manufactures powertrains and seats, and supplies the vehicle assembly plant of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA). The division was formed in 2019 when Hyundai Dymos and Hyundai Powertech joined forces as one entity.
Following a pilot project, Hyundai Transys is using the T300 model AMRs to move parts to the production line and retrieve carts after unloading. Hyundai Transys said that after the introduction of the AMRs to transport carts it could focus on other areas of production.
Thira Robotics said its Thirabot T300 AMRs can carry 300kg and navigate floor inclines of up to 10 degrees, as well as use elevators for parts transport across multiple levels. The AMRs can also move over floors that may be cracked or contain oil or grease spills, according to Thira.
“Owners and engineers at brownfield warehouses and factories who could not implement AMR automation without investing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars into retrofitting the floors can now save money on floor improvement and invest in automation, solving labour shortages that prevent them from meeting market demand,” stated Peter Kim, CEO of Thira Robotics.
According to the company the implementation of its AMRs in Alabama was related to the pressures on the workforce in that state. Thira Robotics said in a press release that Alabama’s manufacturing industry had suffered a wave of layoffs at the same time that the US was campaigning to localise more manufacturing. It maintained that its AMRs helped increase employee productivity by performing repetitive tasks and answered production line needs at a time of workforce shortages.
Thira added that the integration of its technology in the plant is a major stepping stone for the company to continue expanding across the US.
In August last year HMMA announced it was investing $290m to enhance production of Hyundai’s popular sport utility vehicles. The carmaker said it had designated $190m of the overall investment for tooling and equipment upgrades to prepare for production of the all-new fifth generation Santa Fe.